Bill and Ben putting 'party' into party

By Andrew Koubaridis

They want to put the "party" back in political party - and if they can wangle a waterfront stadium in a coalition deal, then even better.

Jamie "Bill" Linehan and Ben Boyce from TV3's popular Pulp Sport have formed their own political party - the Bill and Ben Party - to contest the general election because they say they got sick of politicians calling one another "childish names".

"We already have childish names so [thought], 'Let's put them forward for contention'," Linehan said.

After paying the $1000 registration fee they were faced with the problem of convincing 500 people to become registered members of their party.

"We'd like to think we had that many friends but instead we just got people drunk outside the student pub," Linehan said.

The Weekend Herald caught up with them on the campaign trail this week as they met fans and voters on Auckland's Queen St, where shoppers appeared confused, but strangely supportive, when confronted by the pair decked out in Bill and Ben badges and retro grey suits.

"Most people are just like 'please don't hurt me'," Boyce said.

Tourists seemed the most bewildered. After posing for a photo and happily shaking their hands, two groups of foreign tourists could be heard muttering they must have met some important people ...

possibly even important political people?

Their billboards have got under the skin of one of Parliament's most controversial figures.

"One of our signs says, 'Come on, you voted Winston in'. He wasn't too impressed when he came in [to TV3] for an interview and saw it - but then he took a photo of it."

An election issue close to their hearts was a pairing of rival breakfast TV hosts Pippa Wetzell and Carly Flynn. "That would be a lot of people's dream team".

They have big plans for Parliament TV too. "Think Country Calendar meets Sex and the City with some NZ Idol, hosted by Jason Gunn's head on Dominic Bowden's body."

The pair have crossed paths with National Party leader John Key on the campaign trail and said they hadn't ruled out talking to him post-election - "because there's not that many [parties] talking to him" - but it's likely United Future is well down the list when it comes to the Bill and Ben Party's preferred coalition partners.

"Peter Dunne is a bit dweeby looking - and he's got a funny thing going on with his hair. He sorta looks like Dracula."

Rather than long, drawn-out coalition talks, they've decided taxpayers' money could be saved by a good old- fashioned wrestle.

"As kingmakers we would just let them arm-wrestle for the leadership."

For those who can't make up their minds, the Bill and Ben Party are being refreshingly honest about their intentions - don't expect too much.

"It's easy to make promises in the heat of the election moment, but [it seems] it's even easier to break them once you're in," Boyce said.

"We don't want to disappoint our loyal public."

- NZ Herald

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